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2012 Draft Prep: On the defensive

Senior Fantasy Writer
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For some people, starting eight, nine or 10 players just isn't enough. Sometimes you need to start at least 15. For those people, defensive players are part of the league game plan and part of the enjoyment of Fantasy Football.

When you are asked to start individual defensive players (IDPs), the game becomes a bit more challenging. You must focus on both sides of the line of scrimmage and all players around the league, not just the customary quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends. Everything from draft strategies to waiver claims become complicated.

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Using IDPs isn't for everybody but it's becoming increasingly popular. Some leagues have added one or two defenders to their starting lineup requirements as a way to "test" whether or not they should be bigger parts of rosters. Other leagues have already decided that IDPs is more fun and ask owners to use eleven of them -- that's on top of a deep starting lineup.

Picking good IDPs is lot like picking good offensive players: Get guys who are around the ball. Ball-hawking defensive backs and playmakers in the front seven are always desirable Fantasy options because they're racking up stats by making tackles, registering sacks, forcing fumbles, deflecting or intercepting passes and scoring touchdowns. The only exception, and it's a weird one, are stud cornerbacks who don't get thrown at as much.

Like yardage for typical Fantasy players, tackles are the primary stat to use to judge IDPs. Most leagues that use defenders rely on both solo and assisted tackles to give points, with the other defensive stats boosting totals. You might see all tackles count for one point; passes defensed, forced fumbles and recoveries count for two; sacks and interceptions count for three; and touchdowns count for six. Obviously, because a good defender will make anywhere from 90 to 150 total tackles in a season versus a handful of other stats, tackles are king.

We're going to provide you a rank list for IDPs (good through the start of training camp), but a sharp Fantasy owner should always keep an eye on the waiver wire for rising talent. That's the key to success with defenders. Just like offensive players, defenders will come out of nowhere to post big stats and be helpful options to your team. Win the battle of uncovering waiver-wire gems, and you'll be on your way to IDP-league success.

IDP rankings
  Defensive linemen Linebackers Defensive backs
1 Jared Allen Patrick Willis Roman Harper
2 Jason Pierre-Paul James Laurinaitis Tyvon Branch
3 Kamerion Wimbley Curtis Lofton Yeremiah Bell
4 Julius Peppers D'Qwell Jackson Morgan Burnett
5 Trent Cole Derrick Johnson Eric Weddle
6 Jason Babin London Fletcher Charles Woodson
7 Cameron Wake DeMarcus Ware Mark Barron
8 Justin Smith Karlos Dansby Jairus Byrd
9 Adrian Clayborn Chad Greenway Antoine Bethea
10 Calais Campbell Sean Weatherspoon Charles Tillman
11 Charles Johnson Pat Angerer Kam Chancellor
12 Justin Tuck Stephen Tulloch Antrel Rolle
13 Jeremy Mincey Brian Cushing Bernard Pollard
14 Jabaal Sheard Sean Lee Eric Berry
15 Haloti Ngata James Harrison Quintin Mikell
16 Mario Williams Desmond Bishop Dawan Landry
17 Chris Clemons NaVorro Bowman George Wilson
18 Cliff Avril James Anderson Earl Thomas
19 Ahtyba Rubin Daryl Washington Devin McCourty
20 Elvis Dumervil Lance Briggs Dashon Goldson
21 Kyle Williams Lawrence Timmons DeAngelo Hall
22 Matt Shaughnessy DeMeco Ryans Malcolm Jenkins
23 Shea McClellin Von Miller Brandon Flowers
24 Andre Branch Brian Urlacher Tramon Williams
25 Chris Long Ray Lewis Reggie Nelson
26 Israel Idonije Donald Butler Steve Gregory
27 Osi Umenyiora David Harris Joe Haden
28 John Abraham Tamba Hali Brandon Carr
29 Kyle Vanden Bosch Akeem Dent Gerald Sensabaugh
30 J.J. Watt Daryl Smith Kenny Phillips
31 Ndamukong Suh Mason Foster Richard Marshall
32 Darnell Dockett Colin McCarthy Morris Claiborne
33 Brian Robison Paul Posluszny Jason McCourty
34 Geno Atkins Luke Kuechly Darian Stewart
35 James Hall Perry Riley T.J. Ward
36 Mark Anderson David Hawthorne Harrison Smith
37 Derrick Morgan Clay Matthews Ryan Clark
38 Trevor Scott Bobby Wagner Troy Polamalu
39 Richard Seymour Jon Beason Michael Griffin
40 Marcell Dareus LaMarr Woodley Patrick Peterson

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard and on Facebook .

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Player News
Eagles TE Zach Ertz exits with oblique injury
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:56 pm ET) Eagles tight end Zach Ertz exited Sunday's game against the Titans in the first half with an oblique injury. Ertz suffered the injury in the opening period and returned after being evaluated by the medical staff. Ertz left the game for a second time and was deemed questionable to return to the game, per the Philadelphia Inquirer.

He had one catch for 8 yards before leaving the game.


Vikings' Cordarrelle Patterson able to return Week 12
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:46 pm ET) Vikings wideout Cordarrelle Patterson was able to return Week 12 against the Packers.

Patterson was spotted on the sideline getting his ankles taped, but managed to return to the game quickly. The team never issued an injury report on Patterson, so it's assumed he's good to go for the remainder of the contest. 


Bengals tackle Andre Smith suffers arm injury Week 12
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:37 pm ET) Bengals tackle Andre Smith suffered a left arm injury in the first quarter Sunday against the Texans and is not expected to return.

Lions T Riley Reiff departs Week 12 with knee issue
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:34 pm ET) Lions tackle Riley Reiff left Week 12 against the Patriots in the first quarter with a knee injury. According to ESPN, he has been deemed as questionable to return to the game.

Browns LB Jabaal Sheard cleared to play Week 12
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:16 pm ET) Browns linebacker Jabaal Sheard was cleared to play Week 12 at Atlanta after coming into the game as questionable due to a foot injury. It's good news for Sheard since earlier in the week there was some belief he might not return this season.

Bengals RB Gio Bernard back, listed as starter Week 12
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:13 pm ET) Bengals running back Giovani Bernard was cleared to play Week 12 at Houston after missing three games due to hip and shoulder injuries. Bernard was listed as the starting running back for Sunday's game.

While Bernard is listed as the starter, offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said during the week he will ease Bernard back in action.

"With Gio just coming back, it's going to be hard for me to just thrust him in there and let him go again," Jackson said Wednesday. "I think we have to work him into our process. What will determine that is just how fast and how ready he is to go."


Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall ready to go for Bears
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:07 pm ET) The Bears will have both Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall Week 12 against the Buccaneers.

Both players came into the contest listed as probable, and were always expected to play. The team will also have Ego Ferguson and Josh Morgan. Both players were also listed as probable. Ferguson is getting over an illness. Morgan has a shoulder injury. Demontre Hurst , who was listed as questionable, will attempt to play through a knee injury. 


Brady, Edelman, Gray among notable Patriots actives Week 12
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:07 pm ET) As expected, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (ankle), wide receiver Julian Edelman (thigh) and running back Jonas Gray (not injury related) were ruled as active for Week 12. All three players entered Sunday as probable. Gray is the only player of the three that isn't expected to start.

Falcons list Week 12 inactives
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:06 pm ET) Falcons quarterback Sean Renfree, cornerback Robert Alford, linebacker Tyler Starr, tackle Jonathan Scott, tackle Cameron Bradfield, linebacker James Anderson and defensive lineman Cliff Matthews were all ruled inactive Week 12 vs. Cleveland.

Bears list inactives for Week 12
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:04 pm ET) The Bears have made Terrance Mitchell, Khaseem Greene, Darryl Sharpton, Eben Britton, Jordan Mills, Trevor Scott and Chris Williams inactive Week 12 against the Buccaneers.

Scott, Sharpton and Williams were all ruled out prior to Sunday. Both Britton and Mills came into the game listed as questionable. Britton is dealing with an illness. Mills has a rib injury. 


 
 
 
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